TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

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Andrew350
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TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

Post by Andrew350 » 22 Nov 2019 00:59

Note: This isn't specifically OpenTTD related, but this is the most active forum relevant to this topic, so I'm putting this here to get eyes on it. Hope thats okay!

Hello! :)

TL;DR: I decided to try my hand at redesigning the TT-Wiki Main Page (The one linked to at the top of TT-Forums under the "Wiki" link) in the hopes of making the page more relevant and useful both for people new to the community and those looking for deeper information. The current page is horribly outdated and doesn't give much useful information. Please give me your thoughts on my proposal, or suggestions for a better design, etc; I'm open to ideas, just trying to get something going :) Also some good links to fill in the spaces would be great too! :wink: (I think anyone registered can edit that page directly if they wish)

==========Long version==========

I recently lost my computer containing all of my development stuff for OpenTTD and have been trying to get it back together. Luckily I backed-up most of the important stuff. One thing I didn't backup, however, was my extensive collection of links and bookmarks to all the cool TTD stuff I've found over the years :(

So as I try to rebuild my dev stuff I'm basically flying blind, as if I was brand new here, trawling through our community trying to locate all the stuff I need. And it reeeaaally sucks :( Even starting with a few good links (like TT-Forums or GitHub), it can be confusing as to where I should look for specific things. I found myself, even as a seasoned user, getting turned-around and frustrated at times because things are so spread out and fragmented, even when I have a decent idea of the area to look in. It really helps me appreciate the value of bookmarks :lol:

Anyway, one thing that frustrated me right from the beginning was that big "Wiki" link at the top of the forums, which you would think would be a good starting point. Except it's not.

I didn't realize until now that I don't think I've ever visited that page before, and boy is it a mess. It is horribly outdated and almost completely irrelevant. In fact the only useful thing I could find there were the links in the sidebar :lol: Seeing as it now has a prominent link to it at the top of the forums, I think it's a good idea to update that page to be a useful way of finding things in the community as a whole.

Here is my draft idea for the new page. Compare it to the current one for fun.

Of course this is just one idea, I am not a web designer/wiki master so this is what I could come up with for a layout. I am 100% open to other ideas; I just want to get something better than what we have now :) Some points on my design:

Obviously the sections are still mostly blank because, well, I don't have those links anymore :wink: But I know a lot of you out there do still have lots of them, so I was hoping some people could fill in the blanks with some good ideas. Obviously we can't put every resource there as it would get overwhelming, but I want to get at least the important stuff so a newbie can navigate a little easier through current stuff, and also maybe find directions to some of the hidden gems. :)

I've opted to move away from the TTDPatch-focus of the current page since that is no longer very relevant. Obviously this page is for all TTD stuff and should preserve other resources, but I feel like focusing on more-current (OpenTTD) stuff is best. Ancient TTD and TTDPatch stuff can go in the "other" categories if needed. Feel free to change that :)

Similarly, I decided against any "current events" section (such as the TT-Forums Meet on the current page) since it likely would never be maintained and would just rot and look silly. If similar events happen in the future then obviously the page can be easily modified to add them, but for now I left it out and put a link at the bottom. Again, feel free to say otherwise, I don't want to step on anyone's toes by removing stuff like that. :)

Some of the other info on the current page may be worth retaining in some form, perhaps with a link to an archive page or something. I'm not sure really, so I've left that out for now, more pages may have to be created to make it work.

===========================

So yeah, please look at it and let me know what you guys think, or even better make your own edits and play with it directly :) Thanks!

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Re: TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

Post by andythenorth » 22 Nov 2019 07:56

Wow I had forgotten that wiki even existed :)

Glad you're working on it, I don't have any specific feedback for that page though. :twisted:

Specific to OpenTTD, I recently did a similar thing for all of the OpenTTD dev docs. viewtopic.php?f=33&t=58835#p1226258

It was noticeable that there was no easy entry point into OpenTTD developing / mod authoring. I tried to improve that by consolidating this page to be an entry point for development docs https://wiki.openttd.org/Development

I also rewrote (with help) the entire OpenTTD README, as published on GitHub. https://github.com/OpenTTD/OpenTTD/blob ... /README.md

Notably, I think the presentation of how to both use and author mods / content has historically been confusing and fragmented. That simply reflects the evolution of NewGRF / heightmap / scenario / AI / GS / baseset / sounds at different times, and with different authoring tools and distribution systems. But it is quite hard to digest :)

I think more could still be done in the OpenTTD wiki (and in the game) to group all of this under 'content', and to name it consistently, and make it easier for players to find, use and create.

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Re: TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

Post by orudge » 22 Nov 2019 14:44

I'd certainly be happy for improvements to the wiki here - I never really found the time to dedicate to improve it, sadly. I think the main thing I'd add would be "NewGRF Specs" and "Locomotion" sections in the same way you have OpenTTD and TTDPatch sections, the former linking to the dedicated wiki and the latter linking to the Locomotion main page.

Even without major changes, that front page will be a big improvement, so I'll transplant it onto the main page sometime soon perhaps, depending on whether you or anyone else does any further editing.

Thanks! :)

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Re: TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

Post by planetmaker » 22 Nov 2019 15:16

Wow, what a... dig :) The updated one definitely looks more useful

Concerning dev tools, NewGRFs, contributing etc... would it possibly make more sense to link to existing pages instead of including it there (e.g. those which andy revamped some weeks ago in the OpenTTD wiki)? I fear having all those info in more than one place is prone to bit rot, making it more likely to stumble over outdated info.

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Re: TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

Post by orudge » 22 Nov 2019 20:45

Yes, I would suggest they should link to the OpenTTD wiki where such pages already exist.

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Re: TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

Post by Andrew350 » 23 Nov 2019 08:14

Thanks for the feedback!

I agree less is more, so I started trimming it down a little as you've suggested. Ran into a problem with the formatting though (the 'boxes' aren't behaving the way I'd expect!) and ran out of time to investigate, so it's a little half-broken right now. But I'll work on it some more this weekend :)

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Re: TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

Post by Andrew350 » 24 Nov 2019 23:52

Hmm, well I fail at fixing the layout. If the left side boxes end up longer than the right, it always extends below the "main" box and looks broken and ugly. I've been trying to fix it but I'm getting nowhere; it might need a rethink. I'm not too good at this I think, web layout seems very unintuitive :?

But anyway I tried cleaning it up a little and made it look good for now. Could use some more links (maybe some images to break up monotony?) but otherwise let me know what you think :)

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Re: TT-Wiki Main Page Rewrite

Post by kamnet » 25 Nov 2019 00:29

To be honest, it's not a web layout, it's the awful layout tools that MediaWiki provides. Great for gathering and organizing info, though.

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